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Whitehall police arrest 18 juveniles in connection to car thefts over last 30 days

Whitehall police are dealing with an uptick in car thefts, and they say juveniles are to blame.

WHITEHALL, Ohio —

Whitehall police are reporting what they say is a growing trend of young people stealing cars in recent weeks. Police have arrested 18 juveniles in connection to car thefts over the last month in Whitehall. 

Earlier this week, officers recovered two more stolen vehicles and arrested three juveniles they said were responsible. 

The first vehicle, a blue Toyota, was found on Tuesday around 1:50 p.m. It was spotted being driven through the city by a 15-year-old, police said.

After being pulled over, the driver and 16-year-old passenger tried to run away on foot before being taken into custody. 

Then early Wednesday morning, officers found another stolen vehicle that was being driven by a 16-year-old. Dashcam video captures by police shows the chase, during which a teenage passenger is seen jumping out of the car's window in an effort to escape. 

Watch video of the chase in the player below:

These are just the latest examples in a long list of juveniles stealing cars. 

Earlier this month, Whitehall police took five young people between the ages of 11 and 16 years old into custody in connection to two stolen vehicles. 

Police said the arrests were made after they received a call to the area of Broad Street and Hamilton Road for a report of eight or nine juveniles, who did not appear old enough to drive, getting out of cars. 

Officers would later discover that the car had been reported stolen by the Columbus Division of Police. 

Four of those juveniles had previously been found attempting to steal another car, according to police. They had broken the window of the vehicle and were working to steal the car when they were arrested. 

According to Whitehall Police Sergeant Jon Earl, juvenile car thefts are happening throughout the county and not just in Whitehall. 

“We’re having a real problem right now with kids just stealing cars all over Franklin County, not just in our city. It’s Franklin County-wide,” said Earl. 

Of the 1,606 vehicles stolen in Columbus this year alone, police said 536 have been Hyundai or Kia models. Police have identified a group they believe is behind the thefts. Self-proclaimed group “The Real Kia Boys” consists of roughly 20 kids ranging from 12 to 18 years in age.

Police said it takes roughly 30 seconds to steal a car. In an effort to avoid future thefts, police suggest residents keep their vehicle in a garage, if possible, or consider investing in an anti-theft device.  

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